Posts Tagged ‘monotype’

Bonsai and Monotype

April 21, 2016

eucumbene

Well I am well out of the habit of writing blog posts, but there are a couple of pieces of news to share, so I am back. The two things are related, and they have to do with monotype. Firstly, my work above, Eucumbene, is in a show at the moment at Megalo Print Studio & Gallery in Canberra.  The show is called Bonsai + Print and it is the culmination of a year long project which brought together five printmakers and five bonsai artists.  More about that shortly.  The other thing is that Megalo have asked me to present a monotype workshop next month (May 22 – see here for details). This will be just a one day workshop to keep it as a fun and easy thing to do.  We will probably concentrate on black and white images for this one, and then schedule a later class for working with multiple colours later.

bonsaianika

The Bonsai + Print show has been really well received with many people commenting on how different the gallery feels with the living (and quite spectacular) bonsai in the space.  The above shot shows a great bonsai Banksia by Mike and a large print by Annika Romeyn which also happens to be a monotype.  Mike was the bonsai artist who responded to my query as to if anyone had any dead bonsai they could give me.  I intended to slice them up and either make relief prints as they were, or use them for wood engravings.  The dead bonsai that I received fromMike were such interesting objects though, I got stuck on making drawings of them and later monotypes and still haven’t reached the stage of being ready to slice them up yet.  A prominent feature of bonsai is of course scale, with the plants looking like scale models of much larger trees, and so it just felt right to start printing the monotypes on some of my sizeable collection of old maps (that’s another story).  I started drawing the trees in an upright fashion, but with them being dead, and using the maps which seemed to emphasise land as something to be used and altered for industrial purposes (like the map used for Eucumbene, which is actually a blueprint used in planning some of the tunnels that make up the Snowy Hydro Scheme in the Australian Alps) I began to think about the loss of very old trees from many of our landscapes and other forms of degradation of nature, habitat and soil that have occurred, and so my tree forms became fallen.

You can see a review of the show here, and it will be on at Megalo until April 30.  Keep an eye on the Megalo Facebook page; it seems like a number of us will be giving an artist talk in the gallery at 2pm on the last day (Saturday April 30) but that’s not quite confirmed yet.

The Endless Transience of Being

September 3, 2015

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This blog may well have been in a state of inaction, but believe me I haven’t !  A new solo show titled The Endless Transience of Being opens tonight at Megalo Print Studio & Gallery.  Every show is important of course, but this one feels especially so.  It’s my first solo show in Canberra (where I currently live) since 2012, and the first big showing of a new body of work since a rather serious crisis of confidence and subsequent withdrawal from making much new work through 2013 and 2014.  Many artists suffer from a lot of uncertainty about the value of their own work, and whether it will be perceived by others in a way that even remotely matches how they themselves see it and its meanings.  The more personal the work, the greater the existential risk of course.  Well so far the feedback I’ve had on this show has indicated that the way other people interperate the work is quite within the bounds of where I wanted it situated, and if anyone has decided on the basis of the show that I might be a bit unhinged, they’ve kept it to themselves!

Noted art historian Sasha Grishin has published a review in the Canberra Times here.

McLean enjoys velvety blacks which have been pushed back with a cloth and brush to release brilliant contrasts, where white forms appear with an almost hypnotic intensity and develop a ghostly presence. Within this grid of monotypes there are some stark and beautiful images including Sacred grove and Fallen feather, which have a crispness of definition, while at the same time a certain sophisticated abstraction. It is this quality of something existing and being present, but within an undetermined passage of time, that seems to be implied in the title of one continuous meditation on the “transience of being”. The mood of the whole installation is slightly melancholic and sombre with rocks, water and the naked human flesh appearing as recurring elements. The whole installation could be interpreted as a young man’s meditation on being and time with a considerable dose of passion, angst and high romanticism.

I’m pretty happy with that!

Chalkboard 003

July 23, 2015

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These rough and ready quick chalkboard sketches were all done in one fairly short brainstorming session last night. I’ve got a solo show coming up soon, and want to make the main wall a grid of monotypes. I have a set of nine that I have shown before, as a single line of prints, but now I want to extend that series further and make a grid. The decision to hold the show was something of a short notice thing, and so now I’m planning on being quite busy with new monotypes over the next month. Hence returning to the chalkboard for brainstorming white drawings which mimic the way I like to make monotypes. Although I only had yellow chalk available for this lot.  Had a reasonably successful printing day today and made four prints, of which two might make it into the show. I started with “Luna” from last nights ideas, as something not too difficult to warm up on, and then a different image entirely not featured in the chalkboard drawings. Not a bad start I think.

New show opened

September 28, 2013

ITWinstall1

 

I’m feeling a bit exhausted so I wont write much just now, but In The Wilderness opened tonight at Glen Innes Art Gallery.  I lived in Glen Innes for six years and so it was very nice to come back and exhibit here again.  The last time I had a solo show here was 2008, so it’s been quite a while, and I’ve never shown in the purpose built Glen Innes Art Gallery, which I was on the founding committee  of back in the day when we were still trying to make it happen.  I’ll try and write some more soon, but for now just a couple more install shots from the centerpiece of the exhibition which was a series of nine monotypes (76x56cm).

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ITWinstall3

 

Monotyping at Megalo

March 17, 2013

 

 
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In between teaching days at the National Art School in Sydney, I’ve been doing some walking and camping, time on Sydney Beaches, seeing some shows etc.  This weekend I have traveled to Canberra for a bit of time in the studios at Megalo.  It’s a bit like a second home here at Megalo, since I am so familiar with the studio and presses.  I’ve been taking advantage of the big Hilton electric press to make some more monotypes, with the imagery referring back to summer in Queensland.  I’m thinking a whole new series might be nice, with the figure in the landscape being more explicit than some of my previous work.  They always take a lot longer than I expect though.  I only took two prints yesterday, and one at least should be trashed.  I’ve been here several hours this morning, and only the above print has so far come off the press, but I’m reasonably happy with it.  Bleed printed in a greenish black ink on a half sheet of Hahnemuhle (76 x 56 cm). Below is the second print from yesterday, showing how the drawing changes each time, especially since I am only working from a rough thumbnail drawing about one inch square, which itself was drawn from memory soon after visiting this creek in Mapleton National Park.  What might be lost in faithful realism, is amply made up for by what is gained in the freedom to express a mood and sense of the place without feeling the need to copy a photographic reference.

 

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monotypes at The Left Hand

August 24, 2011

A little interruption to my Marin musings to let you know that I’ll have work in a show which opens this week in the Canberra region.  The Left Hand is a great little gallery in Braidwood, NSW, where the art is always interesting and the people friendly.  Alone off the Press is an exhibition of monotypes – one off images made through printmaking processes.  With a wide variety of artists including monotype specialists, and printmakers who mostly make editioned prints but sometimes employ the monotype, there should be plenty of variety in approach to this oft under represented medium.  Also in the gallery, will be Flipping Books, a show of artist’s flip books, so definitely something for everyone!

You can also read more at the Facebook page here.


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